By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS
Its official name is the Tucumcari/Quay County Regional Emergency Communication Center – but one can call it Enhanced 911.
It’s the new dispatch center set for the Tucumcari Police station that brings together all emergency calls from surrounding areas.
Thanks to a joint powers agreement between Tucumcari and Quay County, the seed for this system was planted several months ago and phase one has been installed this week.
“I don’t really notice a difference right now,” said Tucumcari Police Department Secretary Laurel Sims, who said she will surely be helped by the enhancement system when the final stages are in place next month.
Final stages will include some job transfers of those who worked at the Quay County dispatch center in the detention facility, new equipment and a new map of coverage areas.
The enhanced system, which was mandated by the state, brings together all of Quay, Harding, Conchas Dam, Logan, San Jon and House into one centralized unit. This allows the system to more effectively and economically respond to calls, Tucumcari City Manager Richard Primrose said, adding equipment and manpower won’t be duplicated.
A new map will enable the callers to be located more effectively, he said. If someone calls 911 and cannot speak, Primrose said the dispatchers can trace to call to a specific location, an advancement which will soon be able to work with cell phones, too.
“Of course we’re happy,” Police Chief Larry Ham said. “We get new equipment, new furniture and an enhanced system.” Ham said one of the reasons he chose Tucumcari for his police chief position was he knew this new system was coming and he has seen the power of its performance in the past.
When asked about cost of the system, City Assistant Manager Marty Garcia said he hasn’t seen the bill yet, but the Department of Finance and Administration of local governments will pick up most of the cost.
The centralized system may also enhance the possibility of getting grants and additional funding, officials said.
Ham said another joint powers agreement is being considered with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety for a 911 back-up system in case of, well, an emergency.